Traditionally, every New Year a large percent of the population creates a list of New Year resolutions – a list of things to achieve in the coming year. Additionally, every January the number of people filing for divorce usually triples. No matter how much we wish it, spending a lot of time as a family over the holiday is not always “merry”. So, traditionally, a fair portion of the population add “get rid of my spouse,” to their New Year’s Resolutions.In short, a fair portion of the population seeks their freedom in the coming year.
Thus, January is a busy season for every family law lawyer.
If getting a divorce is on your “to do list” this year, please consider the following:
1. Make sure you know your assets and sources of income (both yours and your spouse’s). Georgia is an equitable division of property state; so all marital assets will be divided during the divorce.
2. Make sure you know about all of your marital debts. Even if the loan or credit card is not under your name, there is no guarantee that you will not be responsible for the debt. Have your mortgage statements and credit card statements ready; run a free credit score report to find out what is outstanding under your name. You never know when your spouse might have pretended to be you, just to get another credit card.
3. Plan ahead in case you want to move out of the state. Under Georgia law, you have to be a resident of the State of Georgia for six consecutive months prior to filing for divorce. Other states have similar laws.
4. If you want to move your children to a different school district in a different county, move prior to filing a divorce or have your spouse’s consent. In Georgia, in a majority of the counties, when you file for divorce an Order is entered which prohibits moving the children out of the county and out of the state until the divorce is finalized.
5. Calculate all your monthly expenses; prepare and stick to your budget. If you or your spouse will move out of the marital residence prior to your divorce becoming finalized, then two households will have to be supported on the same income.
6. Find a support group- there are plenty of free support groups where you can meet and talk to people who are going through the same experience. There is tremendous comfort in that.
7. Spend time researching and choosing your attorney. You want one who only practices family law. You want one who practices in your court all the time. You want one you can afford. If you cannot afford an attorney, research alternatives: AVLF and Legal Aid usually are good places to start.
If it is finally time to file for divorce, be smart. Do your homework. Be prepared. Be protected.
And call us if you need us.